Why Nyarota was fired


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Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the chairman of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, said the editor of the Daily News, Geoff Nyarota, was fired for supporting a 10-day strike that had crippled the publication of the paper for nine days.

Nyarota had been quoted in the British newspaper, the Guardian, as saying that his firing was a trade off for the registration of the paper under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The paper said ANZ was pressured to fire Nyarota in order to obtain the licencing necessary to continue publishing in 2003.

Nkomo said Nyarota was “booted out because he forked out Z$9.4 million from his own pocket to pay ANZ workers who were on strike”.

Nkomo dismissed Nyarota’s attempt to blame the government for his dismissal saying: “We are greatly saddened by this attempt to twist what is clearly a labour matter between Geoffrey Nyarota and ANZ into a political issue.”

“ANZ has not applied to register under AIPPA, because ANZ’s lawyers are making final touches to a court application to challenge the constitutionality of the registration provisions.

“No trade-off is possible for us on the legitimacy of AIPPA,” Nkomo was quoted as saying.

 

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 03HARARE8, MEDIA REPORT: WHY NYAROTA WAS FIRED; HARARE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE8

2003-01-03 10:02

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 000008

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, MITCHELL, SIMS AND FOR AF/S

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: KPAO ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT: WHY NYAROTA WAS FIRED; HARARE

 

 

1.   On December 31, 2002 Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe

(ANZ), publishers of the “Daily News,” fired Geoffrey

Nyarota, the paper’s much-lauded founding Editor-in-Chief.

Local and international media outlets have since been

speculating about what caused this sudden editorial shake-

up at Zimbabwe’s only independent daily newspaper.

 

2.   In an article published in the January 2 edition of

the British-based “Guardian” newspaper, Nyarota alleges

that he was dismissed as a “trade off for the registration

of the ANZ titles” under the controversial Access to

Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). Nyarota

implies that the ANZ board were pressured by the Ministry

of Information and its Media Commission (responsible for

licensing both media houses and individual journalists) to

fire Nyarota in order to obtain the licensing necessary to

continue publishing in 2003. This version of events also

appears in the January 3 edition of the weekly Zimbabwe

Independent.

 

3.   However, on the front page of the January 3 edition of

the “Daily News,” ANZ management explains that Nyarota was

dismissed for allegedly supporting a ten-day industrial

action that crippled the newspaper and prevented its

publication for nine days. According to the Executive

Chairman of ANZ, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Nyarota was “booted

out because he forked out Z$9,4 million from his own pocket

to pay ANZ workers who were on strike.” Nkomo has also

dismissed Nyarota’s attempt to blame the government of

Zimbabwe for his dismissal saying: “We are greatly saddened

by this attempt to twist what is clearly a labor matter

between Geoffrey Nyarota and ANZ into a political issue.”

 

4.   “ANZ has not applied to register under AIPPA, because

ANZ’s lawyers are making final touches to a court

application to challenge the constitutionality of the

registration provisions. No trade-off is possible for us

on the legitimacy of AIPPA,” Nkomo is quoted as saying at a

press conference in Harare yesterday (January 2). The

January 3 edition of the government-controlled daily “The

Herald” also carried a similar story on page one under

headline “Nyarota blames government for dismissal.”

 

5.   Comment: Nyarota’s dismissal from the “Daily News” has

dominated the Zimbabwean media this week. Post will

continue to monitor the story and to speak to the actors

involved in order to clarify the true cause of this

editorial shake-up. Like many readers, we will be

scrutinizing the copy of the “Daily” in coming weeks to

determine whether its new editorial team will abandon

Nyarota’s fiercely independent and critical stance.

 

WHITEHEAD

(14 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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